Category Archives: literature

book meme

I haven’t been writing lately, but I saw this meme and had to do it…

This meme involves revealing how many literary “classics” you have read. The ones in bold are the ones I have read:

Beowulf
Achebe, Chinua — Things Fall Apart

Agee, James — A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane — Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James — Go Tell It on the Mountain

Beckett, Samuel — Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul — The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte — Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily — Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert — The Stranger

Cather, Willa — Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton — The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate — The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph — Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore — The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen — The Red Badge of Courage

Dante — Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel — Don Quixote

Defoe, Daniel — Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles — A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor — Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick — Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore — An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre — The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George — The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph — Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo — Selected Essays
Faulkner, William — As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William — The Sound and the Fury

Fielding, Henry — Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott — The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave — Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox — The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von — Faust
Golding, William — Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas — Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel — The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph — Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest — A Farewell to Arms
Homer — The Iliad
Homer — The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor — The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous — Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik — A Doll’s House
James, Henry — The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry — The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James — A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Kafka, Franz — The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong — The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper — To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair — Babbitt
London, Jack — The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas — The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García — One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman — Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman — Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur — The Crucible

Morrison, Toni — Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery — A Good Man is Hard to Find

O’Neill, Eugene — Long Day’s Journey into Night
Orwell, George — Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris — Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia — The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan — Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel — Swann’s Way
Pynchon, Thomas — The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria — All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond — Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry — Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. — The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William — Hamlet
Shakespeare, William — Macbeth
Shakespeare, William — A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William — Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard — Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary — Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon — Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander — One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles — Antigone
Sophocles — Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John — The Grapes of Wrath

Stevenson, Robert Louis — Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher — Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan — Gulliver’s Travels
Thackeray, William — Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David — Walden

Tolstoy, Leo — War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan — Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire — Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. — Slaughterhouse—Five

Walker, Alice — The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith — The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora — Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt — Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar — The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee — The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia — To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard — Native Son

I suddenly feel sort of cool

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Germinal Quote

(2 horses condemned to spend their lives underground in the mines)
… and both of them, whenever they met and snorted together, seemed to be grieving, the old one that he could no longer remember, the young one that he could not forget.

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Names of the Dead

In the library, I found this book by Diane Schoemperlen. it is an elegy for the victims of 9/11. Written as a list of names and facts, obviously inspired by the O’brian short story, The things they carried. I’ve always been haunted by the image of people jumping from the towers, hand in hand. (I’m repeating myself.)

The following is a passage I found particularly moving…

Selina Sutter. Claudia Suzette Sutton.

Secrets. Of course his wife knew he was a window washer, but for years she thought he only washed the windows on the inside. he did nothing to correct this misconception. what good would it do to tell her that he actually operated the machines that inched up and down the outside of the towers? She would just worry herself sick. What good would it do to tell her that several times a year he and his partner went up and manually washed the highest windows that the machines couldn’t do? She wouldn’t let him go to work if she knew. She would never believe that she was perfectly safe up there, harnessed into his little dangline bucket thirteen hundred feet above the street. He had no sense of fear and he knew she would never understand how much he loved it.

John Francis Swaine. Brother in law of John Armand Reo, also killed….

On Saturday afternoon he liked nothing better than to take a trip to Home Depot. Sometimeshis wife went with him, but in truth he preferred to go alone because she always got impatient, sharing neither his devotion to the religion of DIY nor his enthusiasm for every single offering in this vast temple of home improvement. Alone, he could spend all afternoon studying the plumbing fixtures, the paintbrushed, the spools of cotter wire, the brass and glass doorknobs, the ceramic tiles, and the weather-stripping. He fairly genuflected in front of the power tools and and often came home with something he hadn’t known he needed (a palm sander, a miter box, a staple gun, a laser level, a jigsaw) but was now absolutely certain he could not live without.

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Reading, Watching

I’ve been reading Germinal for the thrid time in 12 years lately. I’ve really been enjoying it. This is the first time I’ve read it since I took that workshop in union organizing back in college, so I keep thinking about the things they taught us. How much of it was ingrained into union culture back in the days of mining strikes such as these? When the company man comes to break up the meeting with Pluchart and the company tries to dissuade Mahue from participating with the worker’s fund, I thought of that hour I once spent wandering around a Wal Mart and trying to talk to workers about unions. We were followed by management and all we had to do was utter the letters “AFL-CIO” so set a worker to staring at his hands. One of my confrence-mates was taken away in handcuffs.

I also think about the people in my class, who have been tortured by bad bosses. I feel a bit guilty about it, but I also think of my own situation: a boss who says I have no right to a lunch break, who jeers at my dress, who is rude and treats me like an unruly child. (She once told me my signature is not neat enough.)

I love little Jeanlin, too. Mischeavious and monkey-like.

I also just finished Harry Potter (which I was, admitedly, slow to obtain.) I loved it, but will not write about it until everyone I know has read it.

In other news, I was watching a special on SNL last night. Have I ever mentioned how desperately I love Gilda Radner (even if I do spell her name wrong)? In a clip, she says, “Dreams are like paper, they tear so easily.” Love Love Love

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Writing and falling in love

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know when I’ve written something really good. I know because it sings. I know because I feel a little in love with it. Do you feel that way, too?

This does not happen as often as I’d like it to, but when I write something good, I want to read it over and over and over. I want to take it to bed with me. I want to read it to the girl at the grocery store. I feel proud in a way that I never feel proud of anything else. (except you, LK)

Rarely do I regret something I write. There are pieces I wish I hadn’t written, things that I cringe at when I happen across them in pages that I’ve discarded. There are also things that I’ve regreted what I’ve chosen to do with. The love letter sent to someone undeserving, the poem that I stuffed into a random person’s locker, the pages that blew into a lake one summer.

The more I think about it, the more I know it. Writing is like falling in love, only you can do it over and over and over again. It is love without fidelity. Or, if one looks at the fedlity as not a specific piece of writing, but as the act of writing anything, it could be exactly like being in love and sustaining love. Or, we could look at Walt Witman, continuing to revise Leaves of Grass to his deathbed. There’s a fidelity that talks.

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Culinary Mishaps and Learning

For about a year now, I’ve been pondering over whether or not I should read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. The other day, while perusing cookbooks at the ghetto library, I saw it and couldn’t resist. Now I know that I should go back and kick my former self for not picking it up sooner. This book is great.

For those of you not in the know, the author took on cooking her way thru Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She wrote about her victories and mishaps on a blog that I could look up were I not so lazy. Then, she turned it into a book.

Julie Powell, you should know, was not a known author before she started this project. She is witty, funny, and has a great way of describing an aspic, or a method of cooking omelettes, or her friends love lives. She’ll have you in stitches, not only when you are actually reading her recollections of the weekend she tried to make Bavarois a l’Orange for a little dinner party, but also when you are cooking scrambled eggs in your own kitchen and you remember how oddly kinky she describes various cooking tools and methods.

One reason I really like this memoir is that it has a base to it that we can all understand: wanting to be a better (or at least different) person. Anyone can pick up a cookbook and start to cook their way thru it. Hoever, she also brings her personal and professional life to the forefront. Her hysteric breakdowns over boiling a lobster, for instance, make me (a mother professed drama queen) feel a little better about that time I tried to make pumpkin soup. And her descriptions of failed dishes make it a little easier for me to laugh at myself, too.

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Poetry Readings

Last night, I went to a poetry reading at Larry’s bar. The main reader for the night was fantabulous. I’ll edit this later to include her name.

I read there, too. I haven’t read in a long time. I love going to readings, but I know that at a reading there are two types of poets: Audio poets and written poets. I am a written poet. I find that it is easier to be good as a written poet. People accept that they are listening to your words, seeing your images thru your choices. I don’t have the extra pressure to preform tat the Audion Poet does.

I think that as far as readings go, it is far easier to bomb as a Audio Poet. Sometimes, people try too hard, too many long pauses, too many emphasised words. Sometimes, there are too many sound effects: where the poet uses a spound or slap to emphasise their work. Last night was good, though. I really love the readings at Larry’s because there is a certain vibe there. It’s a little, hole in the wall style bar where poetry rules Monday nights. If you were in there any other night, you’d have no idea what the place was capable of, but then it explodes with loveliness.

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